Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Amanda Ament, Founder of SIMPLE, located in Franklin, TN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
SIMPLE is your answer to a low-sugar lifestyle. Created out of the need to find a clean, minimalist ingredients bar without cane sugar or hidden sugars. I couldn't find any, so I created my own! Now available to 37.3 million Americans with diabetes and 14 million struggling with Hashimoto's, we are the first US snack brand certified by Sugarwise - whose mission is to improve children's health in schools.
Our bars are sweetened with allulose- an innovative, natural sweetener found in fruits that does not impact your blood levels, is low in calories, and tastes like sugar! We believe everyone deserves healthy, delicious snacks! Keto communities to gluten-free and vegan can enjoy our better-for-you snack bars!
Tell us about yourself
It all started when I decided to quit sugar from my diet for a few weeks. I was overeating sweets and wanted to prove to myself that I wasn't addicted. I noticed benefits from quitting sugar, like better sleep, more energy, and clearer skin. I felt so good that I decided to keep going! Weeks became months, and my struggle was to find sugar-free snacks without sugars that I could snack on at work, during a hike, or on the go.
I couldn't find any snacks with low sugar content or hidden sugars, so I started making my own in the kitchen! My favorite superfoods are chia seeds and matcha green tea powder, so those always made it into my recipes. After making these for myself for a while, it occurred to me that maybe other people were struggling with the same thing: finding no sugar with few ingredients. So, I decided to make these available to other people who might be struggling with this need as well! What motivates me each day is people's feedback and appreciation of the bars. Knowing we are making a difference in their lives is very powerful and fulfilling.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Launching during the pandemic COVID. We've faced many challenges, like ingredients being delivered months later despite aimed production dates and an increase in ingredients cost but also issues with printing our packaging; we had to order new printing plates and re-order a few thousand worths of packaging. We are lucky to be surrounded by amazing teams who went above and beyond to help us launch and make all of it possible. Thanks to them, we were able to launch SIMPLE bars!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
This is more personal but balances work and life. The workload is endless; there's always an email to answer, conference calls to join, and opportunities to find and make things happen. As a startup business, it's easy to work endless hours. I've come to realize the importance of taking breaks, going for walks, doing fun activities, and not feeling guilty about not working constantly. Otherwise, in the long run, it's not healthy or even proactive. Being a women-owned business also brings challenges that I had not expected.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Reach out to business owners in your industry and ask questions. Send a short email to similar brands or service companies in your industry to let them know you are looking to start your own brand or service and would like to learn from them. List a few example questions and dates to schedule a call. You will be amazed by how willing people are to help you and share great advice! I've done this regularly in the early stages and still do occasionally! I'm not going to lie, though- some people were rude, even arrogant, but these ended up motivating me more than anything. You need to stay positive and remember your own capabilities. If this is really what you want – you CAN do this, and you WILL.
- Surround yourself with supportive people. It might sound cheesy, but it makes all the difference. Some days are going to be more stressful than others, much more. You'll need to hear from friends or family what you'll forget during these times- that you are doing great, remind you what you have achieved so far, and they'll motivate you again. Finding a mentor who can guide you will help as well. SCORE is a free service from the SBA (Small Business Association) where you can find volunteers and expert businesses to mentor you! Highly recommend it!
- Do your research. Google is your best friend. The secret is to use to right keywords- my favorites are '[topic] pdf,' 'hacks to [topic],' and '[topic] sample/example.' Open the links from the two search page results (the first 20 links- yes, that's a lot) and skim through all the articles; you'll gain a lot of knowledge! Also- Tiktok (and Pinterest) with the right #'s can educate you a LOT.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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